User ConferenceWere you in such high demand at the office that you missed out on the 2015 M4 Users Conference? Well don’t worry, we’ve got a recap of all the action—read on to see what you missed this year. It’s never too early to make the case to your manager that you should join us next year!

We kicked things off on Monday morning with registration opening, some training sessions, and optional outings! Some folks honed their M4 knowledge as they trained in M4 Foundation, M4 Administrator and Data Mining, M4 Workforce, and more! Others decided to see the sights and spend the day on one of our thrilling and fun optional outings which included a brewery tour, Segway tour, or golf. Many folks chose to meet up at the day’s end at our Happy Hour event at Legends Brewery… the perfect end to a busy day!

Tuesday brought the official start to the conference, and another early morning. Mapcom COO Chuck Flournoy opened the conference by welcoming folks to Richmond, wielding a bull whip and an Indiana Jones-themed outfit (maybe we should mention that this year’s theme was “Chart your Own Adventure”). Chuck highlighted some of the new additions to the Users Conference, including an M4 Masters Showcase, a new Special Interest Group, and a dine-around event. With that, it was off to workshops! Situated on the main floor of the hotel, attendees could “choose their own adventure” as they made their way around the various workshop rooms; with topics like “Sailing the seas of Automation”, “How to become an M4 Superhero”, and “Outrunning Giants in the Gigabit and FTTH Race”, attendees broadened their M4 knowledge and learned more about the future of M4 and the industry. With a new format this year, folks could attend every workshop they wanted to see AND participate in our SIGs later in the afternoon, where each SIG session raffled off a Kindle Fire! During Tuesday’s lunch, President and CEO John Granger updated everyone on Mapcom’s goals and progress, reminding everyone that “Your Success is Our Success”; after all, our wonderful clients are the reasons we are here! Tuesday night found us organizing ourselves into groups of elephants, monkeys, parrots, and more as we prepared for our dine-around experience! Attendees received an animal card in their registration packet, indicating which animal group they’d be dining with. Each animal headed to a different restaurant, allowing folks to meet new friends, network with others, and explore a unique Richmond restaurant.

Wednesday’s schedule looked similar to Tuesdays, but with a brand-new list of workshops and SIGs! Topics like “Cutting through the Red Tape of Government Reports”, “Taking M4 out of the Office”, and “Using M4 to Exceed Customer Expectations” kept attendees busy…thank goodness for the unlimited coffee and hot pretzel bar. After a full day of learning, we were ready to cut loose and enjoy some good food and great company just in time for our annual Customer Appreciation Dinner! This year we headed to the nearby Hotel John Marshall where a live band, poker tables, and indoor lawn games provided hours of entertainment and fun. Thirsty folks could enjoy a “Hydrology Layer: ON” signature blue beverage, or enjoy some beer, wine, or a soft drink. The night ended as so many Customer Appreciation events do: with prizes, Mappy awards, and some uproariously funny karaoke and line dancing.

Thursday may have been the last day of the conference, but our schedule was still jam-packed with things to do and see. Another round of workshops and SIGs brought us to the closing remarks and “The Future of M4”, presented by David Spiller, our Vice President of Technology. David touched on future enhancements and functionality, and re-emphasized the importance of client feedback as it relates to building the product—after all, it all comes down to helping our users! Throughout the conference, many attendees took the time to fill out Product Enhancement forms, “Show my Colleagues” request forms, and comment cards, which will no doubt shape both the future of M4 and our program next year. Following the closing remarks some folks headed home while others chose to stay and take advantage of a 1-on-1 with a project expert, take a training class, or just network with their new friends and Mapcom employees. Indeed it was a great week, and as always we were sad to see everyone head back to their respective offices. Good thing we can already start looking forward to next year!

If after this you’re bummed that you missed out on the conference this year, we have good news! We’ll be doing a special Tips and Tricks where we go over the highlights of this year’s conference, including new key-in commands, functionality, and a few of the topics that were new to the schedule this year. Whether you made it to the Users Conference this year or not, we’d love to have you join us! Email us to find out more.